The Holocaust and Human Rights

February 6, 2018 by Hila Tsor
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The Sydney Jewish Museum’s new permanent exhibition, The Holocaust and Human Rights is one of the first of its kind in Australia and will be officially opened later this month, by Mr Edward Santow, Human Rights Commissioner at The Australian Human Rights Commission.

Dr Avril Alba explores a multi-media display

This thought-provoking exhibition broadens the remit of the museum to include contemporary human rights issues, focusing on Australia as a region and emphasising both achievements alongside ongoing challenges. The exhibition has its audience exploring and questioning their individual, communal and national responsibilities in upholding human rights today.

The exhibition links the Holocaust and World War II as historical factors which motivated the growth of the modern human rights movements.

To create this exhibition took three years of research and development which was partly funded through the Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage grant and was done in collaboration with the University of Sydney.

The development and research was undertaken by Dr. Avril Alba, associate professor Jennifer Barrett, professor Drik Moses and researcher Sarah Haid. The grant enabled the researchers to conduct a comparison study and examination of a variety of other sites and museums in South Africa, Canada, Europe and the United States. This new space feeds into a global trend which sees many museums increasingly engaging with human rights, with a uniquely Australian twist.

Avril Alba explains that the exhibition is meant to serve as a “positive provocation” to people, as well as an educational gateway into a range of issues that exist. While the space invites and encourages its audience to ask questions, Alba said “we’re not trying to tell people what to think, but we’re asking people to think.”

While the new generation coming through to the museum may be less directly connected to the Holocaust, the exhibition hopes to show the contemporary relevance of both the Holocaust and modern human rights issues, which connect across time.

Alba said: “The exhibition marks an exciting new venture for the museum and it’s been a huge privilege to be apart of.”

The exhibition includes three main areas, completed with multimedia displays and an interactive space. The offical launch is by invitation only however the exhibition will be open to all visitors.

Norman Seligman, CEO of the Sydney Jewish Museum remarked: “This now completes the Museum’s major refurbishment, following the opening of the new Holocaust Exhibition last year and will be supported by ongoing Education and Public Programs”.


2 Responses to “The Holocaust and Human Rights”
  1. Rosalie rogers says:

    Anything that avril is associatedwith turns to gold!! She guarantees that the memory of those lost in the shoah is never forgotten and with a teaching style and such obvious caring and devotion to the subject that all who learn from her are guaranteed to never forget her impact on them( nor will she ever be forgotten!)

  2. Rosalie Patricia Rogers says:

    Everything this menschkin girl touches turns to “gold”! Cant wait to see this exhibit.

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